Leonardo Sepulveda knew soccer was his calling at just 5 years old. Now, at 15 years old, the Corona native is fulfilling his dream by playing on the Under 16 L.A. Galaxy Academy team. For Leo, soccer isn’t just another extracurricular activity. Each day he begins practicing at the StubHub Center around 8 a.m. While other teenagers file into the classroom, Leo begins his warm up. His stringent practice schedule made it nearly impossible to follow a traditional brick-and-mortar school schedule. However, with the flexible schedule and high-quality curriculum at California Connections Academy at Capistrano, a tuition-free online public school, Leo is able to maintain a full-time soccer career and outstanding academics.
“My schoolwork off the field is as important as my practice on the field,” said Leo. “California Connections Academy keeps my schedule flexible, so I can focus on both my academics and soccer.”
His diligence and competitive nature displayed in sport are also apparent in his schoolwork. Leonardo is exceptional at math and through California Connections Academy; he’s able to move through material he understands well more quickly than in traditional school. He’s benefited from working with the school’s state-credentialed teachers to develop a customized learning program that meets his education needs, while maintaining a curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. Leonardo has an outstanding L.A. Galaxy Academy Education Staff behind him to monitor his progress, including Stefanie Baduria his academic program manager, Kristy Legg and Jawaan Delaney his learning coaches, Kyle Rosso his English and history content area specialist, Kaya Minezaki his science content area specialist, and Charlton Azuoma his math content area specialist. The education staff works with the L.A. Galaxy Academy student-athletes everyday at the StubHub Center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
California Connections Academy’s flexibility enables students like Leonardo to travel for tournaments and train daily, while pursuing a top-tier education.
“I feel like my teachers know me on a personal level,” said Leonardo. “They understand that soccer means the world to me, but they also want me to be a successful student.”
In the short term, Leonardo hopes to win an international soccer tournament that will take the Under 16 L.A. Galaxy Academy team all the way to Qatar. In the long term, he hopes to be signed by the L.A. Galaxy after graduation and continue his soccer career into the MLS.